Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (** ½) PG 13

This month marks the 25th anniversary of the release of Jurassic Park, the collaboration between director Steven Spielberg and writer Michael Crichton that set new standards in special effects technology. And although a quarter of a century has passed us by, the release of the fifth (!) installment in this series proves the old adage that the more some things change then the more some things stay the same. I’ll be the first to admit that I would not have guessed that all these years later audiences would be salivating for more dinos wreaking havoc and yet that appears to be the case. Who would have known?

In terms of quality, the latest installment, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, lands somewhere in the middle of the franchise. It’s neither as lackluster as the 2001 installment, Jurassic Park 3, nor is it as fresh and invigorating as the original 1993 film. There are a few thrills here and there and a plot that, although a bit on the generic side, still manages to keep things chugging along smoothly in between the creature attack sequences. Of course, the latter reason will explain why most moviegoers will bother with this one in the first place.

Photo: Chris Pratt communes with a dinosaur in ‘Fallen Kingdom’

After five movies there are only so many ways that one can possibly dramatize an attack by dinosaur. To raise the stakes a bit, this one offers not only the threat of prehistoric beasts but also threats by Mother Nature in the form of a volcano during the film’s first half. The finale then serves up a variety of dinosaurs wreaking havoc inside a secluded mansion to rounds things out. Well, you have to give them credit for trying something new at least.

The story reunites the two leads from the first film, Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard). The couple have since become estranged after the events of the last film but reunite here in their quest to save the remaining dinosaurs once a dormant volcano comes to life on the island where the beasts currently roam free. This takes up roughly one hour of the film at which point a plot twist reveals a conspiracy, the details of which I’ll spare you. Suffice it to say that this is the section where the film begins to plod a bit until it picks up for a fairly rousing finale. 

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is harmless enough but you can’t help but wonder when audiences are going to fall out of favor with this sort of thing. If they show up in droves I’m sure that a sixth installment will come to pass although I’m not so sure that would be a wise decision. Sometimes it’s best to quit while ahead although I realize that probably isn’t likely to happen. 

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is playing everywhere now. 

Questions or comments? Write Adam at filmfan1970@hotmail.com.